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(narrator) toward the end of the first millennium b.c., a complex society sprang to life in mesoamerica-- imaginative, literate, philosophically-inclined and sophisticated. this eevol ctu ca c out of the primordial forest and sunk its roots into the soil. today, we know the region by its countries-- mexico, honduras, el salvador, belize, and guatemala. but long ago, it was the world of the maya. not an empire, nor a country, the classic maya culture flourished from the third to the ninth century
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in a far flung collection of city-states. at palenque, tonina, bonampak and other cities, dynastic kings ruled absolutely, controlling trade and tribute. they presided over intricate hierarchies of nobles and officials at courts resplendent with works of art. maya culture, shrouded in a mystery as dense as the forests in which it took root, revealed itself fitfully over three centuries. when the ruins in the jungle were first discovered, there was no way of understanding how the civilization was organized. so it's really through the inscriptions that we've been able to identify kings,
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to find out their capitals, their seats of power. and through this, we recognize now that there were many kingdoms. there was no unified maya state. there wasn't even just a few states. there were many, many states. (narrator) the first inroads into understanding the maya were made by spanish missionaries in the 16th and 17th centuries who followed in the imperial wake of hernan cortes. their "discoveries" included the ruins at copan. but interest ithe st civilizaon began to accelerate in the 18th century when father antonio de solis traveled to palenque and other maya sites. his accounts of the ruins of the once great civilization caught the attention of the king of spain. wave after wave of spanish explorers came to mexico, sending reports and sketches back to madrid.
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the grandeur of what remained at palenque convinced one of the king's emissaries, antonio del rio, that what he saw was the result of contact with the ancient romans. del rio's reports were published in 1822 with illustrations by jean-frederic waldeck, who also documented the ancient maya ruins at palenque. he made watercolor drawings of the architecture, landscape, and sculpted reliefs. in trying to make sense of the puzzling details, in o inse inserting waecelepnts in ae he- hierogphicanel. in the lat anher ir of travelers began to wrestle with the riddle of the ancient maya. the englishman erick cathwo, through his drings,
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icoh, to wrestle with the riddle roh s in,cient maya. captured the attention of the general public in the 1840s with their studies of ancient mexico and central america. (john stephens) we lived in the ruined palace of their kings, we went up to their desolate temples and fallen altars, and wherever we moved we saw the evidences of their taste, their skill in arts, their wealth, and power. in the midst of desolation and ruin we looked back to the past, cleared away the gloomy forest and fancied every building perfect, with its sculptured and painted ornaments, lofty and imposing. (narrator) the late 19th century brought new visitors with new technologies to palenque. the british photographer alfred maudslay arrived in palenque in 1890 and took some of the earliest surviving pictures of the ruins.
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the photographs and reports of explorers la gdwaudsy and his a diline maya studies. one of the first breakthroughs in understanding the ancient maya was the decoding of their calendar and complex records of planetary movements and eclipses. well, the maya calendar is one of the most complicated aspects about maya civilization. there actually are several kinds of calendars. there are ones that are a cycle of 260 days, there's a cycle of 365 days, which is like a year. and then there is this grand calendar of infinite time-- it's a linear system. we see that the calendar is a reflection of their cosmology. it's the world order, very much like any calendar system. it's anchored in the stars. it's anchored in the planets.
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but for the maya it's beyond that. it's really a reflection of the way they structured the order of the universe. (narrator) a new vision of the maya began to emerge. (david stuart) scholars got from this, this idea that the maya were obsessed with time and that's really all they wanted to record. but they weren't just recording time, of course, they were using it to express all of these other things. they wanted to anchor their history, their kings and their wars and records of these things in cosmology. so this image of the stargazing maya, the priest astronomers obsessed with time, this is a bit of a false image. (narrator) in 1946, the photographer giles healey went to chiapas to make a film about the lacandon indians. they led him to a group of temples perched atop ruined pyramids at bonampak. the interior of the largest building on the site
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was sheathed in wall paintings that shattered the peaceful image of the maya. (mary miller) when they came to light in forties, at that moment, everyone had thought that, "oh, the maya had lived in a time of peace. they were people of enormous decorum and personal reserve." and suddenly, when these paintings emerged on the scene and you could see that they were, in some ways, intimate portraits of life at court... but most of all that there was warfare. (narrator) in 1952, a second discovery, this time at palenque, further changed modern conceptions of the maya. mexican archaeologist berto z uncovered a tomb buried deep within the temple of inscriptions. a crypt cut deep into the bedrock beneath the pyramid contained a sarcophagus. (mary miller) i think we can imagine his heirs bringing him up here wrapped in a shroud, taking him all the way down through those 13 vaults,
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down into that incredible chamber, setting him into the sarcophagus, putting the stone on place, making all the offerings, seing the doorway, sacrificial victims, a kind of silence for all time. (narrator) rubble filled the eighty-foot interior staircase. when alberto ruz finally reached the tomb, whicok his tm four years to eavate, he found the skeleton of a man. his corpse had been adorned with jade jewelry and a mosaic mask of jade, shell, and obsidian. whose tomb was this? when was he buried? the answer lay in the undeciphered inscriptions. the enigmatic hieroglyphs, the written language of the maya, had eluded and intrigued scholars since the 16th century.
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missionaries like diego de landa trieto wk withaya toeret the hrogl he was t fir ttry late tm with the spani ahabet. (dad stuart) it was a fundamental sunderstanding of what maring icause the maya never used an alphabet. landa only knew alphabets-- that's all that he could really imagine writing could be. and so he wrote down an a, b, c but he was writing down signs that made no sense as an alphabet. the glyphs were associated with maya rigion directly. he saw thelyphs as a reflection of that idolatry that had to be destroyed. and so he's very famous, for gathering together these... these manuscripts and having a bonfire-- destroying them all. (narrator) only three or four codices survived-- manuscripts made from the bark of fig trees. cracking the maya code has been a long and painstaking process. scholars gradually have identified sentence structures
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and realized that the mayan language was far more sophisticated than any other mesoamerican language. it's a complex system based on more than 500 hieroglyphs. it has sentences. it has verbs. it has adjectives. just like any other language. and deciphering the individual sounds eventually has allowed us to read whole texts. (narrator) those texts have revealed the political history of palenque and the identity of the maya king buried in the temple of inscriptions. it was pakal who took the throne at the age of 12 and ruled for 70 years until his death in 683. palenque's greatest king, pakal founded a dynasty that would rule the kingdom until it fell apart in the ninth century. sculpted portraits show him as both a young man and in old age.
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previous portraits of maya rulers conveyed power rather than individuality. under pakal portraiture became more naturalistic. pakal transformed palenque into one of the most impressive maya cities-- with monumental temples and a new royal palace. the maya loved to paint. they loved to paint on stucco. they loved to paint directly on stone monuments. we see them today stripped of all their paint. yet there is hardly a stone monument that wasn't painted in bright colors, sometimes just with a coat of red like some of the sculptures that have recently been excavated at palenque. (narrator) palenque's grandeur was underpinned by an aggressive foreign policy.
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a reception hall built in 661 carries an inscription running from riser to tread recounting palenque's battles against calakmul, a large kingdom to the northeast. relief sculptures of captives flank the stairways. palenque and calakmul vied for control of the rich fertile tabasco plain that stretched north from palenque toward the gulf of mexico. when the kings of palenque sat in the palace and looked out across the tabasco plain all the way to the gulf of mexico, it was the region that they dominated. and from that region, they were able to collect cotton and cacao, two principal sources of wealth. (narrator) pakal died in 683 and was succeeded by his oldest son kan bahlam-- his name means snake jaguar-- who reigned until 702.
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he continued to expand the glory of palenque. there is no other place where we find, for example, the use of parallel corbels as early as we see them here. and one of the things that this does is make the buildings inherently more stable. these buildings have stood the test of time better than at almost any other site because of the kind of engineering knowledge that the maya used. (narrar) kabahlam built three major temples-- the temple of the oss, the temple of the sun, and the temple of the foliated cross-- dedicated in 692 to palenque's patron deities. the palace was expanded further during the reign of kan bahlam's younger brother, k'an hoy chitam in the first years of the eighth century. added new wings and a public facade facing the vast plain that stretches toward the gulf of mexico. the innovative engineering featured curving ogival arches
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that reduced the weight of the roof. clay figurines from other ancient maya sites give a sense of the king's retinue that once populated the palace. priests and nobles, singers and entertainers, even messengers and servants. dwarves and hunchbacks were thought to herald special powers of benefit to the ruler. paintings on vases and cups portray the king gazing at himself in a mirror held by a dwarf. mirrors were thought to have magicaop and were used to divine the future. those vases, and the painted cups used to serve a chili-laden chocolate drink enjoyed by the maya elite, offer glimpses of life at the maya court. rulers, bedecked in jewels,
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receive tribute in the form of folded bolts of cloth or sacks of cacao beans. they ruled from thrones covered with jaguar pelts. mayainorrated the guar into their imagery as a symbol of their power. at palenque, residences for the nobility were built east of the palace stretching downstream across the otolum river. they included places of ritual cleansing, ancestral shrines, and courtyards for community gatherings. the ranks of the nobility supplied the scribes-- a reflection of the importance of literacy to the maya. scribes were necessarily artists because of the pictorial quality of mayan hieroglyphs. now scribes d a very important social function. they weren't just the storytellers. they were people who recorded tribute and deliveries of goods and the whole workings of societies.
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and for that reason, writing was integral to the functioning of a royal palace. (narrator) the noble households contained works of art, including incense burners-- incensarios-- often bearing portraits of deceased relatives and deities. maya kings styled themselves as gods, as their divine representatives on earth. the crucial importance of corn, the staff of life throughout mesoamerica, led to depictions of nobles and rulers as the maize god. eternally young and beautiful, the god of maize was a metaphor for life itself. portraits of the maize god and pakal share the same upswept hairdo that mimics the foliage and flowing corn silk of the maize plant. pakal and other rulers were buried with masks and jewelry made of green jade-- the color of the maize plant.
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just as maize died at harvest and returned to life with each new growing season, maya rulers also hoped for life after death. the lid of pakal's sarcophagus shows him being lifted up into the sky as the maize god. what we see is pakal emerging om theaws of the uer he is lying in a sacrificial plate. he is in the pose of the young child because he is being born from below. what he has done is he has triumphed over death. he has outwitted the gods of the underworld. and he is being reborn into the sky. (narrator) courtly life at palenque and other maya city-states brought with it responsibility. maya rulers literally paid for their status with their own blood. this sne relief depicts the rituals required of maya kings and queens.
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lady xok kneels before her husband, the lord of yahilan. she draws a rope studded with thorns through her tongue. her blood, dripping down the rope onto bark paper, will be burned as an offering to the gods to insure that the cycle of life would endure. the story continues in a second relief. lady xok, perhaps in a pain-induced trance, has a vision. from the mouth of a giant serpent her ancestor emerges as an armed warrior. in a third relief she appears again, arming her husband with a shield and jaguar-helmet in preparation for war. in the absence of a central authority, the various petty kingdoms inevitably battled for control of resources.
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palenque waged war against tonina, a warlike city-state lodged in the rugged mountains to the south. their grim rivalry persisted for generations. themes of war, sacrifice and captivity became common in maya art, documenting the impact of internecine warfare on court life. warriors... ready for the call of battle... the triumphant return from war... the display and humiliation of prisoners. maya warfare focused on the capture of live opponents especially the high-born. tonina captured its greatest trophy in the year 711 when they took the king of palenque, k'an hoy chitam as their prisoner.
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at tonina and elsewhere representations of captives sometimes served as the risers or treads of staircases-- to be forever trampled upon by the victors. at the pyramids at bonampak, long-abandoned buildings preser the wall paintings rediscovered by giles healey. despite the ravages of time, they depict the martial ethos of the maya court. a painted reconstruction of the bonampak murals has recently been completed under the direction of mary miller at yale university. scientific analysis of the ancient pigments allowed them to recreate the colors first applied by the maya. there is probably no more poignant representation of the presentation of captives in court than the north wall of bonampak. what we see before us is a scene
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of the triumphant lords of bonampak. they arell decked out in their fabulous jaguar costumes. they are standing above nine captives and a severed head-- the most prominent captive ing dead diagonallyacross . (narrator) the murals represent captives in abject poses... their gestures plaintive... their nddrd, thr s acinai mp us m rtifr gestures plaintive... thpresentation of a child-- perhaps an heir to the throne... dancers and musicians play maracas made from gourds, instruments made from turtle shells, a drum and trumpets. the celebrants are costumed-- one is a crayfish, another is a crocodile.
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the murals at bonampak provide a graphic and vivid depiction of the maya-- their cruelty, vanity, love of music, and humor. they were left unfinished when the people of bonampak abandoned their city around the year 800. palenque and scores of oth maya cities also suffered from a rising tide of disintegration and social collapse. plenque, with its proud tower surveying the fertile plain that fueled its greatness, was abandoned to the rainforest in the ninth century. the world of the ancient maya, draid by warfare, environmental degradation, and drout slipped into history. at palenque and elsewhere, the discoveries continue to unfold as archaeologists painstakingly rebuild the remnants of this ancient culture.
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in the 1990s, they found nearly 100 incense burners, revealing another layer of knowledge about the ancient maya culture. we know that the censers were used for a ritual to communicate with ancestors using blood. the blood was collected later in paper or cloth and mixed with aromatic resins. later this was all mixed and was burned. the idea was that the smoke from this resulted in the formation of a serpent. ancestors came out of the mouth of the serpent. (narrator) recent finds have shed new light on the reign of ahkal mo' nahb, pakal's grandson, who assumed the throne in 721. his reign, long thought to be uneventful, was in fact an artistic high point for sculpture. in 2002, the mexican archaeologist arnoldo gonzalez cruz began excavations at temple 21.
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in 2002, we selected temple 21 because it had structural problems. we began to work on it with the idea of stabilizing it and we began archaeological exploration at the site. dung this process we were lucky to locate a panel that would be part of a platform or throne. (narrator) what emerged from beneath 1000 years of rubble was a portrait of three members of palenque's greatest dynas. at the center, pakal grasps a sting-ray spine-- the bloodletting instrument. he is flanked by his grandson ahkal mo' nahb and his heir, upakal k'inich. and on eher sienigmatic arling jr-ke figur. (guillermo bernal romero) the images of these supernatural beings are really extraordinary. there is an interesting detail in the glyph that identifies them as priestly figures. the jaguar-priests seem to be supernatural mediators in the solemn act of sacrificing royal blood to the gods.
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(narrator) the ancient maya, once masters of the jungles and highlands of mesoamerica are gradually being understood. what had seemed impenetrable mysteries have yielded to araeolog deciment bringing individual kings, queens, and courtiers to life.
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captioning performed by pilgrim imaging, inc. 1-800-874-5474
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♪ (narrator) henri de toulouse-lautrec captured the essence of parisian night life at the turn of the century like no other artist. talented and precocious, he drew and painted brilliantly in his early 20s. his first lithographs stunned critics and electrified the public. a master of surface, he also looked into the psychology of his subjects. lautrec was the right artist in the right place at the right time. he lived and worked in the last years of the 19th century in montmartre, a working-class neighborhood on the northern edge of paris. part rural... part urban... and more than slightly dangerous... montmartre was the down-at the heels birthplace of the cult of decadence. its exhilarating new art forms set off one of the greatest explosions

Deutsche Welle Journal
LINKTV October 9, 2012 11:00am-11:30am PDT

News/Business. International news and analysis. (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Palenque 25, Maya 10, Bonampak 8, Mexico 6, Mesoamerica 3, Tonina 3, Mary Miller 2, Giles Healey 2, Queens 2, Us 2, Nahb 2, Dad Stuart 1, Landa 1, Lacandon Indians 1, Undeciphered Inscriptions 1, Henri 1, Diego De Landa Trieto Wk Withaya Toeret 1, Magicaop 1, Solis 1, Alberto 1
Network LINKTV
Duration 00:30:00
Rating PG
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 89 (615 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 544
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

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